After announcing a 21-day nationwide lockdown to stop the spread of novel coronavirus (Covid-19) in the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi appealed to the people not to panic as all essential commodities like medicines and milk would be available during the shutdown.
Soon after his address to the nation, the Prime Minister tweeted: “My fellow citizens, there is absolutely no need to panic. Essential commodities, medicines etc. would be available. Centre and various state governments will work in close coordination to ensure this. Together, we will fight COVID-19 and create a healthier India.”
In another tweet, Modi said, “By converging around shops, you are risking the spread of COVID-19. No panic buying please. Please stay indoors. I repeat — Centre and State Governments will ensure all essentials are available.”
His appeal came after people across the country started thronging the shops to buy essential items in view of the nationwide three-week lockdown starting Tuesday midnight.
Earlier, Modi said in his second special address to the nation within a week, “With folded hands, I request you to stay put wherever you are.”
He added that he was mindful of the economic ramifications of the decision. Modi warned that if people don’t follow a complete lockdown for the coming 21 days, the nation will go back 21 years and many families will be devastated.
He also said many powerful countries in the world have become helpless, regardless of their efforts. He once again reiterated that social distancing was the only way to deal with the dreaded virus that has infected more than 500 people in India so far.
“Some people are under the misconception that social distancing is only for those infected with coronavirus… But they should understand that this is for everyone because it is important to break the cycle,” Modi said in his address to the nation. (IANS)
Examining how the COVID-19 has impacted different countries, researchers have found that Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG), a vaccine for tuberculosis (TB), could be a potential new tool in the fight against the disease.
The study that appeared in the pre-print repository medRxiv, proposed that national differences in COVID-19 impact could be partially explained by the different national policies respect to BCG childhood vaccination.
The BCG vaccine has existed for almost a century and is one of the most widely used of all current vaccines.
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BCG vaccine has a documented protective effect against meningitis and disseminated TB in children.
It has also been reported to offer broad protection to respiratory infections.
For the study, the researchers compared large number of countries BCG vaccination policies with the morbidity and mortality for COVID-19.
“We found that countries without universal policies of BCG vaccination (Italy, the Netherlands, the US) have been more severely affected compared to countries with universal and long-standing BCG policies,” said the study conducted by researchers from New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) College of Osteopathic Medicine in the US.
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the US has increased to 142,502, the highest in terms of infections globally, according to the latest tally from Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE).
The CSSE data showed that at least 34,026 people have died due to the disease in the country.
In Italy, which is one of the worst affected countries, 10,779 people have died due to COVID-19.
In this latest study on impact of BCG vaccination on COVID-19, researchers also found that countries that have a late start of universal BCG policy, for example, Iran had high mortality, consistent with the idea that BCG protects the vaccinated elderly population.
“There was a positive significant correlation between the year of the establishment of universal BCG vaccination and the mortality rate, consistent with the idea that the earlier that a policy was established, the larger fraction of the elderly population would be protected,” said the study.
“For instance, Iran has a current universal BCG vaccination policy but it just started in 1984, and has an elevated mortality with 19.7 deaths per million inhabitants.
“In contrast, Japan started its universal BCG policy in 1947 and has around 100 times less deaths per million people, with 0.28 deaths. Brazil started universal vaccination in 1920 and also has an even lower mortality rate of 0.0573 deaths per million inhabitants,” the resulst showed.
Iran announced 2,901 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday as the total number of confirmed cases soared to 38,309. Also, the death toll from the disease reached 2,640 in Iran, while 12,391 patients have recovered.
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As the numbers of tuberculosis cases dropped in the late 20th century, several middle high and high-income countries in Europe dropped the universal BCG policy between years 1963 and 2010.
“The combination of reduced morbidity and mortality makes BCG vaccination a potential new tool in the fight against COVID-19,” the researchers concluded.